Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Credit card satisfaction hits new low

Okay, so that headline packs all the shock value of “Sun Rises in the East.” But given the widespread annoyance so many readers have with their credit card issuers (check out comments to blog posts here and here) I thought it might be, well, satisfying to know card wrath is a bit of a national epidemic.

J.D. Power reports that overall customer satisfaction with credit card issuers hit a three-year low, clocking in at 703 (on a scale of 1000) in 2009. That was slightly lower than the already anemic 710 score from 2008, and is the lowest showing since the firm started looking at credit cards in 2007.

On the sub-topic of fees and rates, the 2009 satisfaction score slumped from a solid D (640 in 2008) to a D-minus (603 in 2009) as the percentage of respondents who were hit with an interest rate increase nearly doubled over the past year, to close to 20%. Customers reporting complaints/problems also shot up; from 10% in 2008 to 18% this year.

No surprise then, that J.D. Power says credit card issuers own the dubious distinction of having the lowest satisfaction score across the financial services industry, trailing investment services, insurance and banking.

cut_credit_card.ju.03Those of you who’ve reached your annoyance limit with a current card issuer might want to check out the two most satisfying card firms in this year’s survey: American Express (762) and and Discover (751).

Or you can hold on in the hope that the impending new consumer-friendly regs scheduled to go into effect in February 2010 will help matters. I’m not holding my breath. Industry analyst firm R.K. Hammer estimates that credit card issuers will pocket about $20 billion in credit card fees this year. Something tells me they will come up with new and unsatisfying ways to keep that gravy train running in 2010 and beyond.

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